After making deals with far-right and ultra-Orthodox coalition partners to pass a vote in parliament, the government was accused of “looting” the public coffers.
The national budget for Israel’s next two years has been approved by the Israeli Knesset, and it contains a disputed increase in funding for ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities.
In the wee hours of Wednesday, the vote was approved with 64 votes in favor and 56 votes against.
For this year, the budget allotted 484 billion shekels ($131 billion), and for the next year, 514 billion shekels ($139 billion).
It expanded funding to schools and seminaries that serve ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities by $1.6 billion, including money for unregistered religious institutions that don’t provide essential courses like math and science.
Additionally, $67.5 million was set aside for married ultra-Orthodox Jewish males who prefer to read holy literature to working.
This award was a component of an agreement to win the support of United Torah Judaism, one of the ultra-Orthodox coalition partners of the government.
The Jewish Power party, which has lately abstained from a number of budgetary votes, and the National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s office settled their disagreement when the budget included an additional 250 million shekels ($67 million) for the Negev and Galilee Development Ministry.
The decision is expected to put more pressure on the sizable indigenous Palestinian community in the Galilee and the Negev, who have long accused the Israeli government of trying to displace them through different measures.
These include taking over land, creating new settlements, and denying transportation, water, and electricity to dozens of villages that have been deemed to be illegal.
Ben-Gvir claimed on Sunday that his party had pressed for more funding to boost the number of Jews in those areas.
“The Negev and Galilee are our lifeblood, and Jerusalem is our soul. The budget serves as the foundation for how we must act there and as sovereigns in the Galilee and Negev.
Israeli citizens who are Palestinians number close to two million, or roughly 20% of the population. In the Naqab, about 300,000 of them reside.
To meet the budget deadline of May 29 or avoid the possibility of new elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spent the past few weeks striking deals with coalition members who are ultra-Orthodox and on the far-right.
On Wednesday morning, Netanyahu posted a message on Facebook saying, “We won the elections, we passed the budget, and we’ll continue for four more years.”.
“Theft of public funds.”
The chief indicated restoring a questionable arrangement to upgrade the legal executive.
Found out if legal changes were back on the plan, he told Channel 14: ” Certainly. In any case, we are attempting to arrive at understandings [in chats with the opposition]. I hope we can accomplish that.”
After opponents organized some of the largest street protests ever seen in Israel, the overhaul, which would have given the government control over the selection of Supreme Court judges and allowed parliament to override many decisions, was put on hold.
On Tuesday night, thousands of Israeli protesters took to the streets of Jerusalem, claiming that the coalition government was “stealing” money from the state budget.
It was described as “the worst and most destructive budget in Israel’s history” by opposition leader Yair Lapid.
He stated, “This is a budget that encourages people not to pursue higher education, not to work, and not to provide for their children.” It only amounts to incessant extortion, does not combat the rising cost of living, and does not bring any good news.”
Former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman referred to the budget as a “looting of the public purse” and a “black stain” on Israel’s history.
He stated, “The government has decided to fuel inflation and perpetuate ignorance and poverty.”
In the interim, previous protection serve Benny Gantz said the spending plan was “politically one-sided”, serving “an excess, zero to the nation’s requirements”.
“A budget of occupation, racism, and discrimination,” according to left-leaning legislator Ofer Cassif, urged the public to demonstrate against the budget.